Productivity

9 Top Therapists Define Success

 March 10, 2021

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Hello and welcome to the Productive Therapist podcast! 

My name is Uriah, I am your host and I’m excited to share a really unique episode with you today. So what I did is I actually reached out to a group of wise therapists, one on one, and asked them to answer this one question: ‘How do you define success? 

And what I’m going to share with you today is their answers in their own voice. And I hope that you enjoy this. There’s some really good stuff that each one of them share, and there are some themes that I think you will pick up on and hopefully be able to apply and use in your own personal and professional life. So without further ado, first up, we’re going to hear from Katie May from Group Guru and Creative Healing.

Katie May // becomeagroupguru.com 

I think I define success in different areas. One of the biggest ones is with my time. So if I’m able to choose to work on activities that fulfill me and light me up and that I don’t have to do grunt work or fill out forms or different tasks that really drain my energy, that feels like success for me because there’s a choice within that. 

I look at my resources and my ability to obtain anything I need and that feeling like a level of success that I never knew that I could get to, just being able to decide what I want and to not have to worry about how to get it or what I need to do in order to make it happen.

And then I think the biggest piece is just my personal life fulfillment, really, when I’m looking at ‘How do I feel successful?,’ it’s in being able to focus on what matters to me and to live within my passions and to do work that makes my heart happy without having to worry about the time or the money or all of those other pieces. And that’s really what makes it work for me.

Connor McClenahan // HereCounseling.com

I think there are a lot of words that get tossed around like ‘six figure’ and ‘full practice’. For me, the word that helps me is thinking about the word ‘aligned.’ Having success means being aligned with my vision for my life. I think it’s so important to have a vision for your life that’s larger than your identity as a clinician, your identity as a therapist, something you believe about the world and what’s important to you, and how do you create a vision for your practice that aligns with your life. I think that is success.

Katie Vernoy // TherapyReimagined.com

The definition of success, I think, oftentimes has been framed, historically, based on revenue, profit, finances, the six-figure profits, the seven-figure profit, whatever it is. I think those things don’t really resonate for me. My definition of success aligns more with what are my mission, vision and values? Is what I’m doing aligned with that? Am I making an impact? And have I set myself up to create a life that I want to live? And that could be having time, it could be having a certain level of income – I don’t want to say that money doesn’t have anything to do with success, but I feel like too often we get bogged down by very specific metrics that have been set out in the world on what is successful. And for me, and it’s such a personal thing, what life do you want to lead? What impact you want to have? And are you living according to your mission, vision, values, morals? And have you set yourself up to be able to continue to do those things? Is it sustainable for you? 

Julie Herres // GreenOakAccounting.com

So I gave it some thought and thought of all of our clients we work with that I feel are successful. And the common thread that really came through is that obviously there’s there’s money there. But they also have a lot of choices so they can make the choice on What clients do they want to see? Do they even want to see any clients with schedule? Do they want to work? They can decide how much their workload is and what type of work they’re doing, what projects they’re working on. They can decide how much time off they want to take and what exactly they do with that time off. That might be time off to go on vacation, but it might also be to write a book or start another business. So they have that freedom to make any of those choices. 

On the financial side, I always think of freedom as having enough money to do what you like to do without worrying if you’re going to make it. So all of the main pieces in your life are handled: you know without a doubt that you’re going to be able to make your mortgage payment, you’re going to be able to make payroll in your business, you can put food on the table. So all of that is really a certainty. There’s a peace to that. It doesn’t necessarily mean to me that money is no object ever again and that you can go on the most lavish and extravagant vacations, but it means that you’ve got certainty that your life is handled and that there’s enough left to do some fun things. There’s always going to be something in life to worry about, whether it’s stress or family-related or something in the business, hiring, there’s always something, but money is not the main thing that you worry about to me when someone is successful.

Laura Long // YourBadAssTherapyPractice.com

The way that I define success is having complete control over my schedule. So right now it’s Monday morning around 9:30, and I decided to take a trip down to see my parents for the weekend because I want to be catered to like a queen, duh! And I know that my businesses are both running like well-oiled machines – I’ve got plenty of admin support, my systems are very streamlined. So I can take time off without having to worry about what’s going on with any of my businesses. So that is how I define success.

John Harrison // LifeMadeConscious.com 

To me, success is allowing myself to be fully present and to enjoy the things that make life good, both personally, relationally, professionally, but also acknowledging that I have the responsibility to allow these things to be successful for me, as I see them. So claiming my reality and understanding that I’m in charge of my happiness and the things that I want out of life is how I would define success.

Justin & Kimberly Slagle // Practicery.com

Justin: We define success as being the go-to person in your field or niche. And really what that boils down to for us is that you’ve built a brand foundation and identity that people know, like, and trust.

Kimberly: It’s almost like getting to a place where you just have this really supportive community and network to where you almost have to sell and market yourself less. I mean, I know that’s important, but it’s almost like you’re hearing from and getting more clients to where they already feel a connection with you to some extent, they already feel like they know you and they are just so excited to take those next steps.

Patrick Casale // CasaleCoaching.com

I believe that success means that I’m living in congruence with my values. So both professionally and personally, just feeling like the things that I want to set out to do, I’m working towards and accomplishing with attainable goals. And also just feeling like I’m able to create more freedom, flexibility and autonomy and travel within my life. So I know that if those things are all in congruence and all feel aligned, then that equates to success for me.

Katie Lemieux // PrivatePracticeStartup.com

So whether it’s personal or professional, I think success is the ability to achieve and exceed your goals. Also by making an impact, contributing to others, maintaining your values, your integrity, and coming out a better person on the other side, all while allowing yourself to just soak in that which you’ve accomplished and internally be happy.

Hello, Uriah back here to wrap things up! I sure hope you enjoyed this episode. I think it’s a super-interesting question and something that honestly probably changes over time. But however you define success, I hope that you are taking small steps to make progress towards your big dreams. And I certainly hope that this podcast helped you just a little bit, maybe with some inspiration, some reminders and just what you needed today. 

So if you enjoyed this, I would highly encourage you to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a comment. And we would love to read that in future episodes and have you along for the journey. 

Thanks so much and have a great day! Bye!

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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